A Billy Butler miscue in the fifth opened the door to an eight-run onslaught that gave the A's an easy 8-3 win over the Royals Saturday. Jason Vargas made his first start since having an emergency appendectomy on July 9 and looked sharp early one, throwing for perfect inning. The Royals even staked him to a one-run lead with a Salvador Perez sacrifice fly in the third. In the fifth, Derek Norris led the inning off with a double. Then, Billy happened.
Jonny Gomes lofted a soft pop up into the air towards Billy Butler. As the ball was hit, a visible thought bubble was seen over Billy's head. It read "dear god, don't hit the ball to me." The ball hovered over first base. Billy's eyes widened. His heartbeat quickened. His sphincter tightened. He squinted in the bright California sky. Was that the ball? Where was his glove? Oh yea, at the end of his hand. He tip-toed backwards. He lunged. It was almost as if he was dancing to Tchaikovsky.
The ball dropped, untouched.
In 1981, Bill James wrote of Royals first baseman Willie Aikens:
"If there is somebody worse than Aikens, he must be playing first with a machete."
In 1982, James reported Aikens had improved, writing, "I must report now that Aikens was 100% improved defensively in 1981; he was all the way up to dreadful."
At least Bill James hasn't written about your defense Billy Butler. Not yet.
Gomes was ruled to have hit a "single", and that paved the way for a monster inning for Oakland. Alberto Callaspo singled. Josh Reddick singled. Nick Punto singled. I think even Carney Lansford singled in there somewhere. Mike Moustakas did not help matters misplaying a ground ball by Jed Lowrie (another single, thanks Oakland scorekeeper), and Aaron Crow did Aaron Crow things allowing a few more runs to score. When the dust had settled, the Athletics sent twelve men to the plate and scored eight runs.
The Royals offense had a few chances, getting a few runners caught at home, and even managed a pair of runs in the seventh. But Billy Butler ruins everything. He ruined this game, he ruined this season, he ruined the American economy, and he probably borrowed your hedge-trimmers and has no intention of returning them. He is the new Scumbag Steve. Billy Butler ruins everything.